Bra – Cosabella
Hat – Constance’s own // Shirt – Zadig & Voltaire // Jean – Frame Denim // Bracelet – Vanessa Lianne
INTERVIEW BY MICHAEL WILLIAMS
STORY BY KATINA GOULAKOS
Constance Zimmer is UnREAL. The newly crowned “Queen Bitch” of television sat down with us at Imagista to talk about her career, her childhood and so much more! Tune in to the Season 2 finale, which airs Monday, August 8th on Lifetime.
Imagista: Where did you grow up?
Constance: I was born in Seattle but I was only there until I was five. I grew up in various places, I lived in Santa Monica where I went to kindergarten and first grade. I then just moved around because my mom was a single mom and pretty much was kind of following where the best public schools were. So then we moved to Fountain Valley and Orange County and ultimately ended up for the longest amount of time in Newport Beach, which is where I was from sixth to twelfth grade.
Imagista: How did you first get into acting?
Constance: It’s funny that I would be called a late bloomer because, I did not really figure it out until I was a senior in high school and for some people that’s late. I mean there are some people who know what they want to do when they are five and that’s amazing, I definitely ran the gamut, everything I did was in front of an audience. I did track, gymnastics, I was training for the Olympics in gymnastics when I was a little girl. Everything I did was in front of people but I really didn’t like the “working out” aspect of anything I was doing, I just liked the performing aspect. It took me a lot of time to figure out what I could do that did not require me to workout for 12 hours a day. Oddly enough throughout that time, Grease, was being put on at my school when I was a senior. I auditioned for the role of Patty Simcox and that was pretty much it. The moment I got on stage and realize what acting was I knew it was something I wanted to do and I just went for it.
Imagista: Back to the Gymnastics for a second, how far did you take that?
Constance: Not very far, I was kind of plucked because I was in one of those kids gymnastic classes, and I was really good and this trainer started pushing me because he saw Olympic potential. I would train for hours a day and I did it and loved it, but I had no life. I am such a social butterfly that I couldn’t enjoy it as much as I should have. You can’t force that kind of thing, if your heart is not in it then it’s not worth doing.
Imagista: Back to high school now, after you played in Grease, what was your next move?
Constance: Once I did Grease, then I did another play, once I figured out acting was what I wanted to do, all the schools I applied to were all “theater” colleges. I tried to get into NYU and Julliard, I decided I was going to go for the biggest and the best. I had a huge ego, and I don’t know where it has gone but I don’t have that ego anymore, at all. I thought that I could just walk into the audition rooms and just do a random monologues or talk to them and I realized very quickly that was not how to do it.
I didn’t get into any of the colleges that I felt were good enough that specialized in acting. I did get in to The American Academy of Dramatic Arts, which at the time was in Pasadena and I went there for a year but didn’t get asked back for a second session. Al Pacino went there also and got kicked out so I think their system may be a little flawed. After that I ended up going and studying with Stella Adler, while she was still alive. Selma Hayek, Benicio Del Toro, and Mark Ruffalo were all my peers in acting school and we studied under a coach named Arthur Mendoza. I was one of the lucky ones, I went to a commercial workshop, where you pretty much pay to be in front of casting directors and agents. I did that and got signed right away with an agency called Angel City Talent, which does not exist anymore. So I signed with them and I was actually with them for ten years. They got me all the first jobs, the “breaking” through. I really started with commercials, my first year I had done a ton of national commercials.
Imagista: What was your first role, outside of a commercial?
Constance: My first television show was Seinfeld. People were like “oh look the triscuit girl is on Seinfeld” people only knew me by the commercials I did.
Imagista: What was your role on Seinfeld?
Constance: I had three lines, it was the episode called The Wizard. I was in Elaine’s story-line when she is dating a guy and she doesn’t know if hes black or not and she doesn’t know how to ask him so she is constantly trying to figure it out. So they come to the coffee shop and I was a waitress in the shop, and I walk up to them and asks if they want coffee they say yes and I look at him and say “are you black, or do you want cream in your coffee?” It was really amazing being part of that set, even if it was not a huge role, just being part of that incredible series was really amazing for me.
Imagista: What would you say are your highlight roles as an actor and why?
Constance: I would say Seinfeld just because of everything I just said. The next one would be Good Morning Miami which was the first time I was a series regular on a show that actually went a season and a half and because it was with the creators of Will and Grace and we were part of must see TV Thursday night. Everything about that was so iconic and the fact that I was part of that was insane because it was Friends, Will and Grace, Good Morning Miami, and I think Darma and Greg. That I was on a show that was a part of that, it was pretty monumental in my career and my life. Then I have a toss up between two, fast forwarding to today Janine on House of Cards was pretty pivotal in my career, just because of the people and the talent I was working with and being a part of something like Netflix that changed the way you watch television. Getting that role, and still being a part of that show was a big deal for me. Now it splits because obviously Quinn on UnREAL is an entirely different experience, that I have never experienced before in my career. The level of appreciation for a character is something I never really thought was going to happen. Its an incredible experience.
Imagista: If you weren’t acting, what would you be doing?
Constance: I would definitely go behind the camera. I would direct, produce, if I was going to stay in this business I would want to direct and produce. I have directed a couple plays so that is something I know I would love to do. Outside this industry, I would love to be a curator and travel the world and buy things for stores or for clients because I love traveling and I love going to flea markets and finding that one hidden gem that nobody saw.
Imagista: Do you like design?
Constance: Yes, very much, my husband and I have done all of the interior designing of both of our homes that we lived in. Also, my house before I met him was done by me.
Imagista: Not to get to personal but how did you and Russ meet?
Constance: We got set up by a mutual friend that was trying to set us up for six years before we actually ended up meeting and then we met and that was it- it was done.